New UPU report shows world’s postal networks are an engine for economic development

24.05.2018 - Second annual ranking of postal operators highlights their link to the UN sustainable development goals

Research released by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) shows that Posts are a key driver for a country’s sustainable economic development.

The Postal Development Report 2018 measures four areas of development – reliability, reach, relevance and resilience – using the UPU’s unparalleled collection of postal big data and statistics to create a ranking of 173 countries. The report later explores the relationship between a country’s postal development and its progress on UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development indicators.

“As part of the United Nations family, UPU has a role to play in ensuring its member countries can progress on sustainable development. The Postal Development Report not only helps countries measure the progress of Posts, but also shows clear links between a robust postal network and achievement of the sustainable development goals,” said UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein.


For the second year running, Switzerland placed first in the comparative Integrated Index for Postal Development (or 2IPD), achieving the top score for its balanced performance, including top volume per capita and a well-diversified portfolio. Netherlands ranked second thanks to its delivery speed and interconnectedness with international partners. The demand for Japan’s postal services, as well as their quality is credited for its third-place ranking.

While the ranking showed a gap between industrialized and developing countries, standout performers in each developing region demonstrated that this gap is surmountable. Poland, Singapore, Tunisia, Brazil and Nigeria all led the way in their respective regions.

2030 Agenda for Sustainable development

The Postal Development Report compares the ranking to progress on the indicators of four key sustainable development goals: Goal 8 on decent work and economic growth, Goal 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure, Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities and Goal 17 on partnerships for the goals.

With some 31 percent of the world’s population—or about two billion people—currently excluded from financial services globally, the report finds that Posts could contribute to the achievement of financial inclusion by leveraging their vast networks. A link between a country’s score in the ranking and the percentage of adults with bank accounts is evidence that Posts could have an invaluable role in offering financial services, positively impacting national economies and helping countries maximize growth potential for financial inclusion.

The report demonstrates the ability of Posts to enable the spread of innovation, noting a positive relationship between postal development and robust global value chains.

Deputy Director of UPU Pascal Clivaz said, “The report sends a vital message that the world’s posts are a trusted and reliable partner for the private sector and can connect businesses with customers, while encouraging innovation and creativity.” 

Posts are a trusted partner for e-commerce. With about 47 percent of the world’s population currently having internet access, this role is likely to be even more prominent in future years. According to the report, countries with high internet usage have shown higher postal development, demonstrating the need for strong postal infrastructure to sustain internet growth as more people shop online.

A strong postal network could help a country respond to natural disasters. The research found that postal infrastructure is relatively more resilient than other national physical infrastructure, as its operations rely primarily on people. Qualitative data shows that the Post has helped a number of countries recover after a significant environmental event by providing a critical communication channel between governments and citizens. Examples include an 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile in 2010, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013.


UPU was founded in 1874 and joined the UN system as a specialized agency in 1948. Its mission is to facilitate communication by guaranteeing the free circulation of postal items over a single postal territory composed of interconnected networks, and by encouraging the adoption of fair common standards and the use of technology to improve postal services.   

The Postal Development Report 2018 is available here.

A summary factsheet of the report is available here.


For further information, please contact:

David Dadge

Manager, Communication and Events Programme

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

T: +41 31 350 31 23




Press release


Comments (1)

  1. Dirk at 19.01.2016
    Test comment.

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